Simulating Attachment to Pure-Play Fashion Retailers

Rachel Ashman

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


The purpose of this thesis is to empirically identify how pure-play fashion retailers can simulate attachment to their websites (through trust, loyalty and purchase intentions) by using different marketing communications media (static product presentation, moving product presentation, guidance and community) to overcome the intangible nature of the online sales environment.The word “simulating” in the title has been chosen due to the nature of the relationship which can exist between a consumer and a pure-play retailer. The word “simulate” means ‘imitate the appearance or character of’ and ‘pretend to have or feel (an emotion)’ (Google a, 2012). A computer facilitates the relationship between a consumer and the pure-play retailer and cannot feel; therefore the relationship cannot exist in a real way and only exists in the eyes of the consumer. Just as a simulator is used for pleasure rides, such as flights or rocket ships, the flight does not exist, but is simulated by a computer and a director who ensures the film starts simultaneously with motion. The same is true for the relationship between a pure-play retailer and a consumer, it is not real, and therefore it is appropriately“simulated”.Descriptive statistics set the scene for a following body of multivariate statistical analysis (EFA, CFA and SEM) using AMOS 16.0. 15 hypothesized relationships are tested after being generated from an extensive literature review. A sample of 688 female young fashion consumers from The University of Manchester participated in this study.There is clear variability in the build up of attachment when a consumer shops for products communicated via different marketing media. Different facets of attachment can be simulated by using static product presentation, moving product presentation and guidance. Community tools can be used to fuel product viewing in rich media and moving formats whilst acting as a discursive platform. Static product presentation has direct relationships with trust and purchase intention, whereas moving product presentations are related to building loyalty.Generalisation of results is limited due to the use of an exclusively female, student sample and the centrality on the UK fashion industry. Further development of the constructs used in this study is needed to further test the conceptual model.This study is one of the first to empirically study pure-play fashion retailing, providing insightful and pragmatic advice by identifying which communication mediums foster enduring relationships with young fashion consumers.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2012


  • Pure-play, online, fashion, communications, marketing


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